Is it normal to not know your clinical location until the first day of class..

Posted
by Kandake Kandake Member

This semester is my first clinical so I am a bit anxious. School begins on August 27th for us and most people are not aware of their clinical location at this point. Since I was on campus today I decided to ask the Clinical Coordinator about it. Her first response was "what difference does it make?"

I know I will be carpooling with people so there's that. Also one clinical location is Spanish speaking and I am not proficient in Spanish at all; I'd need to brush up if that was the case.... Also, just general curiosity.

She eventually said they were still trying to figure things out and she had two places narrowed down.

Maybe I was a bit naive to go in and ask, I didn't realize it was so complicated on their end.:down:

smf0903

844 Posts

Sometimes you'll find that scheduling is a hot mess. We've had clinical sites changed a month prior to classes starting, 2 days prior to classes starting and mid-term. :eek: We've had sites not posted until the first or second week (we usually start clinicals second week, unless it's an 8-week class). We start classes two weeks from today, and I still don't know the clinical site for my preceptorship. The word on the street is that we have a meeting that gives all preceptorship info, but none of us has heard word one about it.

The one absolute I have learned during this program is that nothing is absolute :yes: Good luck!!!

ellaballet

ellaballet

174 Posts

Hahaha I saw that meme on facebook this morning and had a good laugh. Since we "front load" the first two weeks of every semester, we don't start our clinicals until 2-3 weeks in. Usually I find out where I'm a little before the first week of class, I have no clue where either of my fall placements are yet.

If you want to start brushing up on your Spanish it wouldn't just benefit you in that one location, I've encountered multiple Spanish speaking patients through out my clinicals/prior CNA experience.

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. 1,260 Posts

Yes, for us that's weird. We have compliance we have to deal with (usually in the first couple of on campus meetings prior) before we even get to step foot in the facility. Unless they want you guys to do it on site but I know our education depts at each facility would shriek in horror if we came within 100 yards of the place without having compliance done. That's interesting....I hope it gets worked out. I know that I wasn't sure what my last clinical site would be until the 1st day of class but obviously it didn't matter since we were on campus. Good luck! And, no, it wasn't naive of you to ask. We still don't have our placements (school doesn't start for another month, though) and everyone is bugging anyone they can to find out who has what. It's normal.

Stephalump

Stephalump

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience. 2,723 Posts

I think it's odd, mostly because we had student IDs that needed to be picked up, handbooks that needed to be read, and orientation materials that needed to be taken care of - on top of all the personal reasons that apply.

I assume if it hasn't be organized yet, it's because all hell has broken loose. I don't think you did anything wrong, but perhaps it's a stressful topic right now? The fact that they don't even know where all clinicals are being done yet is crazy to me...maybe they lost a location or something.

Clinical placements were always a mess for us and we often didn't know where we were going until a couple days before.

The problem is generally that there are too many students for too few clinical opportunities so the schools are scrambling to find placements that will meet the requirement.

The other issue is that facilities will often change their hosting policies with little notice to the schools.

Chill out and go with it.

And you could do a lot worse than being somewhere that forces you be all in Spanish. Lack of functional Spanish skills is the single biggest deficit that I see among nurses... and this is in California where the language is everywhere.

aeris99

aeris99

490 Posts

I just transferred to a different school and can't even get my classes sorted out. They pre selected classes for me and only enrolled me in 2 courses. I can't change or add classes until orientation, the day before classes start. :/

I know that isn't really helpful advice. I just wanted to say I empathize with the anxiety.

rob4546, ADN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ICU/ Surgery/ Nursing Education. Has 8 years experience. 1,012 Posts

I think it would be best to just relax, there may be many forces at play here. I know I would always be upset that I didn't get the clinical schedule when classes started, but clinicals usually didn't start for 2-3 weeks anyway. There was always a lab scheduled for the first few weeks so that we could be instructed on what we needed to know that semester.

This year, after I graduated, I have been in contact with the staff at the school I graduated from. The clinical instructor told me that she has been trying to firm up the dates and time at two facilities for the past month but the facilities have not confirmed anything. On the other end, the clinical facilities have many other things to do besides plan for incoming students.

So, there could be many reasons for the delay, but overall I wouldn't sweat it. It might be a little hairy when clinicals start, but you will find a way to overcome. Trust me, this is small compared to some of the other stressors of nursing school.

smf0903

844 Posts

Yes, for us that's weird. We have compliance we have to deal with (usually in the first couple of on campus meetings prior) before we even get to step foot in the facility. Unless they want you guys to do it on site but I know our education depts at each facility would shriek in horror if we came within 100 yards of the place without having compliance done. That's interesting....I hope it gets worked out. I know that I wasn't sure what my last clinical site would be until the 1st day of class but obviously it didn't matter since we were on campus. Good luck! And, no, it wasn't naive of you to ask. We still don't have our placements (school doesn't start for another month, though) and everyone is bugging anyone they can to find out who has what. It's normal.

Yes, this is always fun when we don't find out until late which facility we're at. Mad dashes for drug tests for those facilities, mad dashes for completing online orientations/info for facilities...it is a mess, and everyone is pulling their hair out!!

SopranoKris, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in ER & Critical Care. Has 7 years experience. 3,152 Posts

Our first semester, we don't know our clinical placement until after school starts.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 7 years experience. 3,488 Posts

Clinical placements can be a real pain for the people that do clinical placements at nursing schools. In fact, it can be the very bane of their existence! My old program is now about 2 weeks out from their first days of class and I guarantee you that they're very actively working on getting everyone placed and determining what the rotations will be.

A lot goes into clinical placements. When you're new, the school only knows if you meet the various facility requirements. If everyone is qualified for every placement possible, then they just break people up into groups and assign the groups to a rotation that allows everyone to get the experiences necessary. In subsequent semesters, the instructors do talk to each other and they may try to place you with a clinical instructor that best matches what you need.

They also have to arrange permission for you to get into the EHR system, drug dispensing system, and sometimes even the network itself. At one facility, we were provided our own network logins so that we could sign on to any computer on the network and we had separate credentials for the EHR system. Then they also have to make sure that the clinical instructors have been oriented to the facilities, that their own EHR logins will allow them access to all their students' records, and so on.

It's very complicated... including keeping the facilities happy. It is very possible for a school to lose a facility because of something some student did. It happens. Clinical placements are difficult as it is, and if your school suddenly loses a site, then things get really complicated really fast. There's a school nearby that is having severe difficulties and had to stop enrolling students because they're having clinical placement difficulties because they lost clinical sites. This is not good... and may lead to them losing BRN accreditation entirely.

A to the question at hand, while we'd usually know a few days before class starts, sometimes they could only give us our clinical groups the first day or first week of class, but certainly before the first clinical day.

The clinical education part of nursing school has long been a bottleneck in being able to push through students. It's possible to seat 300 students in a lecture hall and give them the didactic material, but if you can only find clinical placements for 35 of them, there's a problem. That means the school would have to limit the class to 35. Accordingly, there's only a certain number of clinical slots available throughout a given region and those slots have to be shared among those schools, so that's also an issue too. At any one time, my old program had approximately 130 students that they had to place every semester. Among the various programs in the area, there were about 400 students that had to be placed in a very limited number of facilities that were willing to have students.